Looking for a birthday or party idea for your tween or teen that adds fun and mysterious flavor to the traditional cake, decorations and favors? How about a murder mystery sleepover party for your little sleuth and her friends?
This idea takes tips from mystery classics such as the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mysteries, and games like Clue. It’s been done on cruises, at local theaters and for special dinners. Here’s how you can let your little one and her buds in on the fun.
What a Murder Mystery Party is All About
If you’ve never had the pleasure of being a guest at a grown-up version, here’s what a murder mystery party entails.
The basic premise is that some fictional character has been “murdered.” (Good plots include one sister in a sorority or one member of a well-to-do family. See Host-Party.com for more game ideas.) Each guest who’s been invited to the party plays the part of one character in the story—for example, a sorority sister, a best friend, a niece or an employee of the household.
The guests will receive clues which you’ve cooked up that lead them closer and closer to the answer. The girl who solves the mystery first is the winner. (Or you can make this even more fun by pairing up guests and having “teams” try to solve the mystery.)
Here’s What You Need to Do
Here’s where the fun comes in. You’ll need to dig into your creativity bank to come up with fun names for the “suspects.” Then you’ll assign each guest one character. For even more fun, on the party invitations, ask guests to dress in character.
Now randomly choose one guest to be the “perpetrator” – but of course, don’t tell anyone. And we do mean anyone! DON’T tell the birthday girl. She may not be able to resist spilling the beans at some point. Make sure your choice really is random; perhaps you can fold pieces of paper with guests’ names on them, close your eyes and then pick. (No cheating, Mom!)
At this point, you’re ready to start creating your clues. Try to word them in amusing ways (for instance, “I sat here but not for long, and left a gift that was rather strong” for behind the toilet). Write the clues on pieces of paper and hide them in their appropriate spots. One clue should lead to the next, and then to the next, and so on until the final answer is stumbled upon by the winning guest or team.
A great spin on this is to text clues to your party guests, but this can be time-consuming. However, if you have only a few guests and keep clues to just a few, this method can work and will be a huge hit among today’s techno-savvy tweens.
Once the Mystery is Solved
After a winner is announced and the guests have giggled at the “perpetrator” in their midst, assign prizes for each team depending upon how well they did.
Then let your little Nancy Drews settle down in front of the TV with DVDs or video games. Assign a lights-out limit (say, 11:00) but let them have enough time to wind down first.
You’re guaranteed to be the most popular mom on the block with this fun game idea for your daughter’s party!